Around three years ago, VA Sec. Doctor David Shulkin, on the basis of scientific evidence, was on the verge of rule-making in favor of adding bladder cancer, Parkinson’s-like symptoms and hypothyroidism as service-connected presumptive AO diseases. Shulkin was fired. Since then, the Office of Budget and Management and VA Sec. Wilke have dragged their feet–waiting, some believe, for more afflicted Vietnam vets, to die off.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine ruled that “sufficient evidence” linking hypertension and Agent Orange also exists.
Stroke is also identified as associated with Agent Orange but not part of current legislative efforts. (Link GAO 19-24, Actions to be taken, page 75). Birth defects are still being investigated.
A Military Times article(10/23/19 Link) White House responsible for delayed decision on new Agent Orange diseases, provides redacted evidence to support their title.
This year, senators took up the fight with an amendment which made it out of the Senate Armed Services Committee for a vote.
On July 23, the Senate passed amendment S. 1972 96-4; it was added to a defense authorization bill, S. 4049. Six Republicans voted against the presumptions.
Jon Tester (D. Montana) Press Release on his amendment
Schumer Press release (Link) explains the need.
“Schumer said if an Agent Orange-related condition isn’t specifically listed on the presumptive conditions list then the VA forces the suffering veterans and their families to argue their claim in a lengthy, bureaucratic appeals process that can last years and often end in a denial. In many cases the veteran will die before the process is even concluded.”
S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Link)./NDAA.
Other sources of Agent Orange information: ProPublica
News: Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
On a personal note, my late brother-in-law John, an Army Corps. of Engineers veteran, who served in Vietnam, was diagnosed with hypertension by the VA (CT). Later, he suffered a heart attack at only 48 years old and died, leaving two daughters. A talented man and great father, he never got to meet his future grandchildren. He inhaled AO contaminated soil dust road-making and performing other tasks. I have no doubt that AO killed him and thousands of other men and women before their time.
Government-speak in reports is exasperating. In GAO-19-24, we learn that the VA and DoD subject experts are still trying to figure out how to determine what “location” means. But then, in 1977, barrels of Agent Orange stockpiles were burned at sea near Johnson Island. AO barrels from Vietnam and Gulfport, had been stored there to leak and spill.
As burnt chemicals were released into the water and air, they polluted the lagoon and traveled far and wide via currents. Just great. This toxic island has a long history of extreme DoD polluting activities and is closed to the public.
Find your Representative by zip code (Link)
Campaign headquarters for Trump, and Biden, anyone running for office. Where do they stand? Don’t want to deal with staffers? Send an email to political reporters asking them to investigate and get on the record comments. Governors. We are talking over 83,000 veterans and their families who need help and running out of time.
Email: Veteran Experience Office,
Bladder cancer is a presumptive condition for toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune. Sometimes urostomy and other types of surgeries are needed. See VA Health Library article, Urostomy: Emptying Your Pouch
“You’ve just had a urostomy. As part of your surgery, a small opening (stoma) was made in your abdomen. Urine and mucus drain from the stoma into a disposable pouch. You’ll need to empty your pouch when it gets to be about one-third full. The pouch is likely to become this full every 2 to 3 hours. Emptying your pouch keeps the pouch from bulging under your clothes. It also helps prevent leakage and odor. You will use a different collection system at night so you will not have to get up to empty the pouch….”
Urostomy: Changing a Pouch, American College of Surgeons (ACS) Ostomy Home Skills Program, Youtube link. ( Warning-a few graphic images.)
Search Google images for visual information with keywords, stoma, bladder cancer, urostomy etc..
Laura (Guest author)
Veterans have the right to benefit from science.
Truth be known agent orange was piggy backed thru western Military installations for years! Just like the D.O.D denied it was in Okinawa ? More lies and deception at the expense of so many… and air guns didnt spread hep C and and other illnesses… smell the coffee!
HCV spread via many transmission pathways often explosively through medical interventions. In the early 90s when testing was able to isolate Non-A, Non-B hepatitis and it was renamed hcv. HCV is extremely hard to “kill.” Multi-dose vials were eventually banned but not fast enough. Transmissions dropped in the 90s from transfusions at least. But HCV is still circulating in the world.
A friend just mentioned to me that her ex has just been diagnosed with bladder cancer and he is a Vietnam Vet. She said he was told most likely not covered. So is what you are saying, is it an assumption only based on Camp Lejune at this point? I’m assuming that’s based on the water, right? Thank you 🙂
Providing this amendment and law are passed in the House, it will go to the President for signing. The Senate passed it–lots of support from liberal Dems and conservative Rs in the big surge to get re-elected this year. They need the veteran vote.
If he was Marine, and lived in NC (See Wikipedia and search this site for Camp Lejeune) during a certain time period, the toxic water, it is presumed to cause bladder cancer and other serious illnesses. https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/
But I think he should file now because the ROs have been getting ready for this.
Also, if developed properly, he can still get help. Read this claim from 2007:
Entitlement to service connection for bladder cancer, to
include as due to Agent Orange exposure and/or diesel fuel
They will need a nexus opinion until it becomes law, which I think it will.
There are quite a few articles online–use keywords Agent Orange, bladder cancer etc..
to get started.
If the afflicted vet has a private doctor, he will need to be given information on Agent Orange and the science behind this to help him.
Thank you, I’ll relay those thoughts.
It is Deny until they die brought to you by VA and US Congress. These old Vietnam vets don’t deserve compensation for AO diseases sayeth our fearless leaders. Most of us are 70 years old plus by now. A few more years and 90% of us will be dead. I have DMII, peripheral neuropathy, high blood pressure and heart disease. I won’t last until congress and VA include all those other AO diseases as service connected.
So are you connected for AO dmii–and heart disease now? VA is fighting high blood pressure but the evidence is there. File for HT fully developed claim and you have a year to present evidence.
Take very good care of yourself meanwhile..
Get inspired by the late oldest WWII vet Richard Overton at 109 youtube. Great life; died 112 in 2019. Great video.
Today show has articles/videos about 100 years dancers–a male & female. Inspiring
Congress is not fighting these additions. OMB put a halt to it. Under the Executive Branch of Government.
Yes and I think during an election, it should pass the house. But they are on vacation now and I don’t know if they will be doing any voting. Probably not. The current VA secretary has also been holding this up.
This is heartbreaking just to hear. I imagine how awful it is to live it.
Thanks for commenting. This is hard. I know a man who lived over ten years with a stoma, post-bladder cancer surgery. He adjusted to it eventually. He was always a drinker though, and didn’t give that up. I wondered if he might have lived longer if he gave up alcohol. Or perhaps some cancer cells spread before his bladder was removed. In any case, it is important to find it early, blood in urine being a possible symptom. And to find a great surgeon.
For veterans, toxic exposures have been and still are the norm so the unbiased science is critical information to have.